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Pilates Fun for Being Healthy and Fit

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Being able to move with the precision, fluidity, balance, strength, endurance and grace of an Olympic athlete is earned. It is earned through the practice and understanding of movement itself. It is earned with the practice of using muscles to move bones. This is true whether your preferred activity is swimming, running, horseback riding, kayaking, lifting weights, playing soccer or walking.

For athletes, the great challenge is definitely within the chosen sport. For others, it is most likely within their everyday living activities. The challenge is staying fit for our working hours, home and family life, fitness entertainment and the demands these entail. The more finely tuned the body is during cross training and fitness practice, the better the results and rewards are in sport specific applications and everyday living.

At a real, dedicated Pilates studio, the ways to cross train are built on an in-depth knowledge of body biomechanics and physiology. It is not the way the gym class was years ago. You move with an understanding of
your body and a fine tuning that allows you to be in control of the movement. This is not the old standby of
“muscling through with 1,000 per cent to achieve goals.” Knowing which muscles you actually want to
use when, for the desired result, and which muscles you don’t, can mean the difference between winning a gold medal for an athlete, or for others, living a life pain free.

Usian Bolt provides the perfect analogy. Bolt told Men’s Health, “In the 100 meter, once you come out of the drive phase, there's nothing you can do to accelerate. The last 40 to 50 meters is all about flowing, and there's a real art to that. The worst thing you can do is start to strain. You'll tighten up and slow down."

Pilates teaches how to work with your body from the inside out for peak performance. Not overpowering, or using muscles needlessly, in a waste of energy. You use what you need, no more no less. For this to be powerfully implemented, Living Well Pilates teaches the principles of Stability vs. Mobility. It differs with the requirements of given exercises. Stability is not only with the core (what Pilates if famous for), but also within shoulder movements, hip movements, foot work, etc., which makes Pilates the most effective of exercise
routines for the whole body, mind and spirit.

Mat class, equipment classes and privates link together all the body movement exercises to reinforce the learning and advancement to goals. Knowing learning styles and preferences will help direct the best choices for the individual learner. Some clients learn better in groups while some are better in one-on-one session.
Some clients learn faster with written, audio, or visual material, while others learn best kinesthetically.
Living Well Pilates looks to fill the need for the client’s best learning style.

Private one-on-one sessions with an instructor are designed specifically for the individual clients.
These provide an excellent forum for learning the Foundational exercises. Foundational movements are
like the musical scales for musicians—they are the basic forms and are best practiced often to maintain good form and execution. Privates are also used to study the Classical exercises, using fine tuning to understand them more deeply. The more perfectly they are done the more beneficial they are.

Private are essential for working with specific issues. Pre-rehab, post-rehab, active recovering of chronic injuries and presentation of pain symptoms requires specific work with the ability to customize the program according to client feedback and response. Along with closely guided instruction during the privates, there is specific homework given, first for pain reduction if needed, then working towards the nine principles of Pilates
including strength and endurance.

Fun is one of the most important components for staying on track with earning your fitness, along with the ability to actually reach your goals. If it is not fun and achievable, you won’t last long at being committed to reach your goals. Pilates is fun. It is fun to move your body in Pilates’ new and demanding ways as you apply this new found knowledge and feel the wonderful difference of how good it feels when done the Pilates way.

Mary German and Living Well Pilates

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20 years ago Mary fell in love with fitness as an integral part of her everyday lifestyle. Previously Mary owned and operated small businesses which provided a professional identity. She also worked for the international Swiss company, IBICO Inc. while living in Chicago. Transferring to Canada in 1991 with her husband and family, as a visiting spouse Mary was not allowed to work and used the opportunity to concentrate on her fitness and health, along with that of her family.

Born near rural Fargo, ND in the Red River Valley, Mary grow up on a small grain farm, where daily physical activity and outdoor living was a given. One of twelve children, there was work enough to go around with gardening, taking care of the farm animals (chickens, cows, and pigs raised for family nutrition), and the household tasks known well to farm wives.

Her first business, in Minneapolis, Minn., was a family day care and provided a lot of physical activity. When the family was transferred to Chicago, the work became more sedate in an office and like most people today worked for long hours at the desk and computer. Although the work was mentally challenging it was physically stifling. It gave her an appreciation for all those in similar situations.

Mary sums up her approach to life: “Everyone is responsible for the energy they bring into their life and they are also responsible for the energy they surround themselves with in their life. I am working on having bright energy that I bring and also surround myself with.”

“Pilates is all we offer because Pilates has so much to offer you. Pilates’ total body conditioning of mind, body and spirit is achieved from its committed practice and it is a discipline. You have to show up to the practice to receive the health benefits. Living Well Pilates is there for you and your practice. Your practice does not need to be, nor should it be, only at the studio. Pilates should also be practiced at home, while you are away on travel, or during the day when you have time for a movement break.”

Upon arriving in Canada in 1991 from the U. S. as a “visiting spouse” with her family, she was in need of a new identity and something to do with her days. Mary began training as a Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Leader. Ten years ago she started her Pilates practice. Mary German is now a Physiologist, Pilates Instructor, Myoskeletal Release Practitioner and Founder of Living Well Pilates. Ltd.

Mary German:

f Pilates Equipment & Matwork Specialist: Post Rehabilitation and Special Populations.Body Harmonics Institute

f Physiologist: Canadian Society of Exercise Physiologists (CSEP)

f Personal Trainer, Professional Fitness and Lifestyle Consultant: Ontario Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (OASES),

f Pilates Equipment and Matwork Certified Instructor: PHYSICALMIND Institute, THE METHOD,

f Canadian Fitness Professionals, Fitness Instructor Specialist, Group Fitness Specialist, Nutrition and Wellness Specialist

f Studied with: Mary Bowen, Pilates Elder, Connecticut; Lolitta San Miguel, Pilates Elder, Reformer Sequencing and Exercise Application; f Ann McMillan, Montreal Pilates, Spinal Post-Rehabilitation using Pilates; Elizabeth Larkam, Allegro Tower Applications: Knee Post Rehabilitation and Golf

Put Reformer Into Your Pilates

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Perhaps the most renowned of all Pilates equipment is the Reformer. More than 100 exercises can be performed on this surprisingly versatile fitness apparatus. The key is in the gliding platform on which one can sit, kneel, stand or lie on their front, back or side. The user pushes and pulls off the foot bar using the arms, legs, wrists and ankles to slide back and forth along the rails in a controlled manner while the tension in the springs gently works the muscles

Core control and strengthening will be part of every exercise as you work your way through a different sequence of exercises for the entire body each week. You work against spring resistance on the Reformer, which adds a whole new level of strength training to Pilates.

The springs also provide support for difficult exercises, thereby creating easier variations of mat exercises. This support means you can work muscle groups more deeply and specifically. The Reformer is a very versatile machine, and the variations are endless, so you never get bored.

There are many exercises that incorporate standing on the Reformer and these exercise transfer more directly to your daily activities. Working out on the Reformer will make you strong.

Begin Reformer and Mat Classes this fall to work on mastering form and principles as you realign, strengthen, lengthen, and improve overall body mechanics. Emphasis on abdominals and back muscles leads you to increased core stability and strength, challenging your body with basic foundation movements. Freer movement and postural realignment result.

Golf - Stay at the Top of Your Game with Pilates

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The modern Golfer’s performance can be directly related to six well known Pilates Movement principles that are crucial to physical fitness and athletic performance.

Breathing - When we hold our breath our muscles tighten, and tight muscles are slow muscles that are not good for your golf game. By learning to inhale and exhale fully as you practice Pilates, you will facilitate breathing during play, pre-shot routines, and perhaps your swing. The better you breathe the more oxygen gets pumped around in your bloodstream and the easier it is to engage in cardiovascular activities.

Centering - Your center core activates before the movement of the arms or legs. This means that the golf swing is initiated from the center of your body, three to four fingers below your navel. When you swing through the ball from your core the arms, wrists and club follow effortlessly.

Concentration By performing Pilates movements with concentration and focus, you train your attention. You train in the Zone while doing Pilates so that when you need the Zone in golf it is familiar territory. In Pilates we are mindful of the quality of movement rather than the quantity. This idea is the mind-body connection at work. The hierarchy of movement is: attention, intention, breath and movement initiation.

Control - Practicing control of any coordinated movement will translate to your game. In essence, when performing Pilates exercises with control you are practicing golf swings with control. They are both movements of the whole body that start from the ground up and spiral in rotation to finish.

Fluidity - Each Pilates exercise is coordinated with breath, rhythm, and tempo. Each exercise has a flow and sequence using only as much energy as necessary to produce the maximum or minimum energy or force. This is efficient, flowing, rhythmic movement that will transfer to your golf swing.

Alignment - As there is specific body alignment in golf, there is a specific body alignment for each Pilates exercise. Correct alignment in the body during Pilates or Golf allows for efficient movement, placing minimal stress on joints, ligaments and muscle tissue to help avoid injury.

The Mission of Living Well Pilates will assist you, the golfer, in game improvement and lower scores while staying more pain free and injury free. Our program will add longevity to your game and allow you to have more fun playing the game you love – At the Top of Your Game!

What Is Pilates?

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Pilates, pronounced Pi-laa-teez, is an 80-year-old method of physical conditioning that features hundreds of exercises completed either on a mat or on various pieces of specialized equipment.

For many decades Pilates has been popular with athletes and dancers who face high performance demands. In the past decades, the general public has flocked to Pilates because it is a challenging yet gentle workout for the whole body. Pilates is often referred to as the thinking person's exercise.

To gain maximum benefits, during each exercise you think, sense, and feel what your body is doing. For example, during any given exercise you may be asked to feel how your spine is moving, how your abdominal muscles feel, whether you are straining anywhere.

With Pilates you learn to focus intently on all muscles and joints that are working. This stimulating exercise technique for both the body and mind is now recognized globally and is a suitable means of conditioning and rehabilitation for people of all activity levels.

Athletes and dancers use Pilates to stay highly tuned, injury free and ready for peak performance. For the general public, Pilates offers a refreshing change from more traditional types of exercise. You become stronger, more flexible and rejuvenated WITHOUT jarring or straining your body in the process.

For those in rehabilitation, Pilates is unsurpassed. The modified Pilates exercises are restorative, safe and beneficial.

(Above Copywrite 1999-2004 Body Harmonics Pilates. All Rights Reserved)

Over twelve million people doing Pilates in North America.

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